For Cedar or anyone: My dad did it again...


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For at least a year I have asked him to please not tell my ex-sister and ex-brother anything that I do. I don't want him to mention me. Both are malicious, especially my sister. I stressed to my dad that my surgery, which was an elective mastectomy, needed to be kept from them in particular. I did not tell almost anyone about it. You guys I told because you don't really know me and I trust you anyways. But in my real life just my family knew. I know my sister thinks I worry about my health too much and I think a mastectomy is very personal and you don't let everyone in on it. I told him it would embarass me if she or my brother knew, especially if they knew it was not because I was sick.

My sister hasn't texted me for about six months by now.

Today I heard my phone get a text so I looked.

Sure enough it was my sister: "Dad told me you're feeling well after surgery. Good to hear!!! Stay on the mend."

I almost burst into tears. For one thing, I have no reason to believe she cares one wit about me. Secondly, I think she did it to taunt me that he told her. I can hear him saying, "Don't let your sister know I told you."

I am so disappointed in my father and so embarassed. I can imagine my sister making boob jokes about me with my brother. I shouldn't care, but the point is...I didn't want them to know. Why on earth would he tell them?

Anyhow I called him to ask and he denied telling her. Then I read her text and he said, "Well...I don't remember what I say to her. I didn't talk to her today."

I told him how disappointed I was and how I felt embarassed now and he went off on a rampage. I don't even know what he said, but in the end he's sick of all of us and he hung up the phone. Like last time.

I am just so fed up with him. He's too old for me to keep him upset on my account so I wrote him anotehr letter, like I did last time, telling him I would still talk to him if he were respectful and calm because I love him...blah, blah, blah...but this time I did express that I was disappointed in him and, since he yelled that he was disinheriting all of us and giving his money to charity, I also put in that I was fine with whatever he did with his money because it is HIS money.

I did soften it up with a few pictures of when I was with Julie and the baby, but, really, a few weeks ago he yelled at me about how he wasn't interested in his grandchildren. He said, "They should call me if they want to see me." I told him the baby was less than a year old and that his six year old grandson had never seen him even once.

"He should still call me!"

This was a theme in my childhood. My grandma and grandpa from my mom's side (this is the grandma who favored me) would come over every Saturday. When I was little, I didn't call her. She just came over to see us because she wanted to see us. I would hear my mom and dad arguing over the grandparents and my dad would be yelling back then, "Why should my dad and brother come over? Do the kids ever call them????"

So I guess you're supposed to call the adults when you are very young or they don't come over. Maybe it has to start from birth. Who knows?

At any rate, I am not really upset. More just fed up, but doing okay in general.

I am just so glad I don't judge myself by my DNA collection anymore.

Seriously, I know my dad is too old to travel to Missouri to see his grandson now and Bart is not going to accomodate anyone by coming up to Chicago. So I get why he doesn't see him now. However when Junior was born, my dad was still healthy and traveling all over the world. He has been to almost every country you can think of and was very healthy in his early to mid eighties and is still very healthy for ninety. And my son still lived in Chicago when his son was born, so there is also that. The truth is, my dad had no interest in knowing his great-grandson. Honestly, he never paid all that much attention to US ... lol.

Anyhow, yeah. When my sister shocked me with her text, I just typed "thank you" and left it at that.

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I learned a very long time ago that if I did not want particular family members not to know something, don't tell anyone in the family. Once it leaves your lips and is out there in the universe it is fair game. It should not be that way but it is.


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Only one person can keep a secret. :)

Good to keep the text with your sister short.

Yeah, I can see a 1-yr-old checking the calendar each week and saying, "Tie- to cawl Grawmpa." And the six-yr-old, "Secretary, take a note. Put Gramps on speed-dial. After I take care of that short-sell, and place the order for construction materials at 501."


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Well, I don't trust anyone in my DNA collection, however my father tells me ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about my brother and sister, and I'm glad. I asked him not to. But he is so capable of being quiet when he wants to, I figured he'd do me the same courtesy. I was wrong. I just won't tell him anything from now on. I have pretty much stopped telling him most things because he doesn't really want to know about me, my kids whom he never sees or talks to, or anything unrelated to him. But I had a slip up when I thought I had cancer and told him because he IS my Daddy (sarcasm) and I had a slight relapse then. THAT he actually seemed a bit concerned about so I forgot who he is and told him about the surgery, even though I just say "I had surgery for female problems" to anyone else who asks, such as work. And if others ask, "Can you be specific" I just smile and say, "You know...female problems" and that's the end of it. Let them think what they want.

I should have kept this one under lock and key because I know my sister thinks I'm nuts for having BRCA1/2 screen and that when I told her that she should really tell her girls that early breast cancer runs in the family, she flew into a frenzy. This is soebody with an eating disorder who is nutty about body image. At 55, she still diets if she weighs over 100 lbs. and my ex asked me once if she was sick because she is very pretty but so incredibly skinny. The idea of losing a breast would horrify her. The idea of choosing to have preventative surgery to her would be like choosing to cut off your arm for no reason. She is all aabout how one looks. So I really didn't want her to know. She makes a lot of fun of people whom she thinks are funny looking or fat (she thinks almost everyone is fat). So now she knows.

Oh, well. Rationally, big deal. It's not like we're going to have a long talk and she is going to get to taunt me to my face or call me "borderlilne" for doing it to my face. I am letting this one go because it isn't worth it. However, I am sad to see my dad the way I have this past year. I dealt with my mom years and years ago and wanted to think my narcissistic dad was better than her.

"Which poison do you want, my dear?"

It's time to let go of any idea that my family of origin was functional in any way and to just move on with my own family and be mindful of my own behavior so that I don't repeat what I grew up with.


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I know it's no consolation MWM, but I think most families are like yours (and mine). If I told my mother anything personal and asked her to keep it to herself she would be on the phone to her 'friends', neighbours and anyone else she could think of. My mother thrives on drama and turns anything and everything into a trauma with herself at the centre. So, my brother and I tell her nothing, because she is incapable of not using it to her advantage. In your situation, my mother would love being able to tell everyone how much SHE was suffering and how much SHE was worrying and how much SHE was having sleepless nights over her daughter's mastectomy. In reality, she would not be giving me a moment's thought, because everything is about HER. I've come to the realisation that she is incapable of doing anything else. Her brain is hard-wired to behave in this way and I have to adapt my behaviour to deal with this. So, I didn't tell her I was divorced from my first husband until 6 months after it was finalised. I didn't tell her I'd had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy until 6 months after I was back in work. I follow the 'six months' rule.

It's sad I know. Our parents should be there for us to turn to when we need them. But there you go. It is what it is.


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LucyJ, I so welcome your refreshing reality. It's true. Most of the time, in any family, if you want everyone to be And if you have parents who don't respect you, it's even riskier. I made a mistake. I'll have to live with sister knowing and in the big picture, does it really matter all that much in my life? No. She isn't even in my life. So she got a little satisfaction out of sticking it to me. That's ok. Let her.

I am going to put this one on myself and consider it a lesson. If I don't want people to know something, keep it to my husband and kids only. If my kids tell their friends, I don't really care. It's mean people I'd rather not know. My husband is very closemouthed about everything so there is no risk there.

I am so grateful for the dose of reality here. LucyJ and others, your slap (which I needed) is so incredibly appreciated.

Lessons learned. They never stop!!!! ;)


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What kind of person would laugh at or make fun of a person because of surgery?

You should pity her.

Glad you are doing OK.

Scent of Cedar *

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Anyhow, yeah. When my sister shocked me with her text, I just typed "thank you" and left it at that.

Good job. "Never let them see you sweat." While you may feel riled up over this, never let them know that you feel anything but calmly confident.

Thank you was the perfect response.

I am between Tai Chi and work, so I don't have time to respond at length right now. Basically, try to see this as an opportunity for growth ~ which it is. It is also an opportunity for you to heal some of the unresolved conflict you have not been aware of until this happened.

Final thing: Angelina Jolie made the same choice you did MWM, and for the same reason: peace of mind. You made a great choice for yourself. You have been very happy with the outcome and with the surgery, itself.

Our families of origin can put us into that old, wrong position. That is where they want us. That is where your sister is hoping this put you.

Never let them see you sweat.

This does not have to be an opening for her to weasel her way back into your self image.

This does not have to be anything, at all.

Hold yourself closely and with compassion, recognizing how deeply and how often you have been hurt, how rotten it has been, all of your life, to have had your capacity to make rational judgments questioned, and celebrate your freedom from those things.

This is an opportunity for growth, and you are going to come through it stronger and more certain of who you are.

That was not what your sister intended.

Never let them see you sweat.

Here on the site? We will be sweating right along with you ~ in private.




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Thank you, Cedar. I love your responses. As usual, they hit the spot. I am not only not going to let them see me sweat, I'm going to try hard not to. I DID make the right decision for me so why do even give a moment's care to what these people think?

Thank you and everyone for making this a good day :)

Scent of Cedar *

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For at least a year I have asked him to please not tell my ex-sister and ex-brother anything that I do. I don't want him to mention me. Both are malicious, especially my sister.

I so get this, MWM.

There are people who see that same trust and intimacy through which other families come together and establish family identity as grist for the betrayal mill.
It's like they can't help but try to destroy the reputations of their siblings, their own husbands behind their backs, their friends, even their parents.

Nothing is sacred.

Anyone who trusts them, they betray in this same way.

I don't know why, and I don't understand the payoff very well.

I hope I don't do this.

I think it must be something about feeling so badly about themselves that they think their reputations could never be reclaimed and so they have to destroy everything about those they pretend to love, about those they pretend to be safe harbors for. I think I see that pattern in my family of origin, too.
It's like being betrayed while they smile and hug you and they know all along their intents are nefarious.

They are opportunistic, like pirates.

And we don't know that because we refuse to believe it could be true! Half the time, I berate myself for thinking such crummy things. By the time the family is finally done pulling all their stupid behind the scenes strings and tripping everyone up, I've pretty much done myself in and will believe I have no choice at all about how I am seen or treated.

So yeah, I definitely get why you would not want that sister to have your info.

She is certain to use it.

That is what they do.

I have seen wildly unbalanced "family gatherings" where the cruelest things are done, where one sibling or the other is excluded, or where grandchildren are favored or excluded and no one mentions it.

And the family is weaker because of it of course, but still, it goes on and on.

Very strange.

And I know of one instance where someone did mention it, and he was punished. A grown man, making appropriate observations regarding the wrongness of the crazy, and he gets punished, is shamed and humiliated further.
I posted about that incident, once.

It's one of those crazy things where you know what you are seeing is wrong and you cannot believe it could possibly be what is happening...but it is happening.

It is exactly what it looks and feels like.

The wrongness is not in you or in me, MWM.

Our situations, our families of origin, were strange, cruel, stupidly hurtful places to be born into.

But here we are today, and now we know better than to believe them about who they tell us we are, or about who we might become. We just need to figure out how to live with that knowledge. It is easiest simply never to see them again but they will never, ever leave us alone.

We have to fight them for them to leave us alone. I would be angry with my father, too. There is no peace once they know. They are frightening, hurtful people, and we are only ourselves, battling still to get through the things they taught us about who we were when we were too little to know better or too innocent to believe they could be wrong.

I suppose I need to say too that we (or at least I do) have the right and responsibility to ourselves to remember to be grateful, every single time these pointlessly hurtful things happen, that we know better than to believe them, now.

I agree that your sister and brother will use this, or any other thing they can get their sharp, greedy, celebratory little teeth into, to hurt you, to damage your reputation or to re-establish their own.

But that is okay.

You have dealt with harder things than this.

We don't get to say or even, understand one thing about the dynamic whirring away in the darkness at the hearts of our families of origin. But we do get to bless ourselves for the hurt of it. We do get to forgive that little girl we were, that little girl who tried so hard to do the right thing and who still carries the weird, hurtful scars of her growing up instead of the strength her growing up time should have given her.

But you know what?

We are doing really well, MWM. I mean, just look at all the things we have worked through and unraveled and come out of healed instead of broken and vulnerable.

We are never going to change them. I don't know why they target and hate us. But I do know the hatred seems to be a rabid thing they cannot control. It's like a reflex or an addiction or something, and it is always at work and they don't mind pretending to love us when really, they don't. Maybe, they are lying to themselves, just the same way they are lying to and betraying, us.

So, we don't need to do anything about it, because nothing can be done.

You are fine.

For today, I am upright, too. I have not heard from my family of origin for awhile. I am sure I will. And when I do, I will be the one coming here for help regaining my equilibrium.

Because we can't see it for ourselves, how very unbelievably subtly (to us) toxic our families of origin are and have been. A healing wound is a vulnerable place, but we are healing.

Boy are we.

F them.

(Sorry MWM. I know you don't swear. I do. I especially love to swear where my twisted, wicked family of origin is concerned. Roaring, lusty swear words! Ha ha ~ good for me!!!)


(Jerking herself back to the present moment, Cedar, no longer Cap'n Dan from Forrest Gump riding out the storm at the top of the spar but only herself again, goes on.

It's like salt spray, MWM. Rubbing salt into an open wound, but (Cedar grates, curling her lip and narrowing just one eye like the strongest, scariest pirate in the world) they will never. sink. this. boat.

I cannot believe they would choose this sick way of interacting over just being so glad to see everybody together. But they do choose that sick, battered old bag of a family identity, every single time.

But that's okay. We don't have to understand it. We only have to know it is what it is.

And we do.


Sucks to be us.

But not that bad.



Scent of Cedar *

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My sister hasn't texted me for about six months by now.

Today I heard my phone get a text so I looked.

Sure enough it was my sister: "Dad told me you're feeling well after surgery. Good to hear!!! Stay on the mend."

Shock and awe.

I figured this out about my own sister. She calls at her convenience and messes up my day. I never know when it is coming. I know it will be full of lies, and I know I will feel sickly because I know she doesn't love me and I can't figure out why she is calling.

Except in the secret darkness of what could be the worst thing?

I do know.

I just don't want to know.

But she will hurt me, or my children, if she can do it, so I have to look, and I have to know.

And so do you.

Sure enough it was my sister: "Dad told me you're feeling well after surgery. Good to hear!!! Stay on the mend."

What a slime bucket. It would be one thing if she had been honest. But she wasn't. She made sure you would know your father told her. That was the purpose of the text. It was a sick version of "I win." What she won was that you don't want her to know anything about you. She has lost that right.

And she wants you to know she violated your rule.

She climbed right on top, didn't she.


(Play that clip from Forrest Gump here. AHAHAHA!!! YOU WILL NEVER. SINK. THIS. BOAT!!!)

I almost burst into tears. For one thing, I have no reason to believe she cares one wit about me. Secondly, I think she did it to taunt me that he told her. I can hear him saying, "Don't let your sister know I told you."

You are right.

I am so disappointed in my father and so embarassed.

In this about your father, you may not be right. About the embarrassment, you are given a place to recognize a wounding and heal it.

In our families of origin, the currency is whatever will give the predator a perceived edge. The edge is a thing of their own valuing, and so, we don't get it. It is scary to us, because we don't know why they are after us, and we don't know how to tell when it is over and we don't get what it is that constitutes a win. Our minds don't work quite that way and so, we are forever at a disadvantage when it comes to ferreting out a correct response. I don't know so much about that, but I do know a predator ceaselessly sifts the waters, endlessly and perpetually has a kind of radar out to catch anything remotely like prey. Your father may have been (probably was) tricked into revealing something he knew that was a sacred trust between you and him.

Or he may have participated willingly.

I think he did not participate willingly.

I think he was tricked by a skilled predator into revealing a sacred trust. I think that because your sister mentioned your mutual father, first, in her message to you.

She was slicing into an old territorial wound you don't understand, but upon which she has built her identity. I see the same kind of thing in my sister. I don't get it, either.

But I know it is there.

If the loyalty of our mutual mother, or, when he was alive, our mutual father could be made to seem focused on my sister ~ and here is the part that seems important ~ to the exclusion of the other children, and of their children and even, of their pets or jobs or houses or appearances ~ that is what the predatory sibling wants. But the strange thing is that even when there is reason to believe they have attained the undivided attention or loyalty of the parent in question...the joy of it, the joy of what they believe themselves to have accomplished, can only come true for them when they can wave their perceived win in our faces. It isn't enough for them to feel loved, they need to feel loved more than. It isn't enough for them to feel loved more than, they need to feel that you know you are less than; that you are destroyed, even.

You, or me, in my family, need to be destroyed, need to be non-existent to the parent.

I don't get why they are so focused on the parent, either.

But it skews the balance of the family, and assures there will be no healing.

Those are terrible things to say, I know.

But that is what it seems like to me.

It explains why the things that happen in my family of origin happen.

Maybe it does.

I don't know about that. But I do know you are a thousand times correct in your assessment of what is happening, here.

Good for you. Knowing is better than not knowing.

You don't know this yet, MWM, but you are no longer vulnerable to your sister in any way. This thing that is happening now is an echo. She is throwing out bait.

You are smarter, more empathic, more honest than she is.

Those are your tools, and you know how to use them to set yourself on the right course. You cannot (and I cannot) change these patterns. We can see them, and acknowledge our situations. And from that information, we can choose.

That is why we are no longer vulnerable to our predatory sibs.

It is easy to forget that. We have been blasted by them, the sneaky little jerks, for all of our lives and we never were able to see them for who they were before.


It is true.

This is exactly what it looks and feels and smells like.

Sucks to be us.

But not that much.



I don't even know what he said, but in the end he's sick of all of us and he hung up the phone. Like last time.

And this is what the sister wants.

Possible to call the father and tell him you love him and that none of this matters, compared to that?

Next time, you will know. (And there will be a next time. I am learning that, with my own sister.)

That is why the sister texted you as she did.

To reach in and ruin your relationship with your father.

Never let them see you sweat.

Stand right up.

You are amazing. That is what she hates.

Sucks to be her.


I shouldn't have told him. It's my fault for doing that.

That is your father. You should, for his sake and for your own, be able to freely share the events of your lives.

It is the sister who is the evil one here.

But that is never going to change.

Sucks, as someone very wise once said, to be her.

Especially now that we know who she is.

I am so glad you sent your father the pictures. Like it is with our kids, we love them where we can with all that is right and good and generous in us.

I have to go to work.

More, later.



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MWM, Do not give these people any power. They are only people. They are as imperfect and as broken as the rest of the human population. You kept it short, sweet, and appropriate.


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Thanks, Cedar. We have shared so much. I knew you'd get it and make me feel better.

I really can't say who did what here. I do not think my father told my sister maliciously about this. He doesn't understand...maybe he thinks that if I had it, I MUST have cancer and he wanted to nudge her to do get in touch with me because she "should." That is how he thinks. He's no hero, Cedar. The man is a full blown narcissist. When you read the traits, you don't wrinkle your forehead and think, " he really??? I mean, in some ways...maybe he has traits..." You don't do that. You say, "OMG! THAT IS HIM!" He isn't a very nice man, but he is my dad and 90 years old and I don't like that he told her, but he certainly can keep a secret. You know what bugs me the most about this? When my mother had a brain tumor, it was a huge secret from me and nobody was EVER supposed to tell me. Nobody ever did...she did during one of the times I called her to try to kiss up to her. Now my father knew. He had a sick fixation with her, even after the divorce and a new girlfriend. But he never told me. Years and years slipped by and he never slipped up one time. Not once. Never. And he was only an ex to this woman, who kicked him out of her life and never had a good word to say about him. And he knew. He never tells me about my ex-siblings, which is good. I don't want to know. But he doesn't.

Now we come to Sis. Sis is a lot like Mom so she certainly can and does manipulative and scheme. But if she didn't know about the surgery, she couldn't have baited it out of him because she wouldn't have known to do it. Now on the text, I agree it was totally malicious. She did not have to bring up my father at all. It was deliberate. I already know that she is completely despicable. She has hurt everyone in our family of origin at one time or another, yet excuses herself because she tends to "right" it on her terms and in her own time. Pardon me for being so verbose. Your posts bring the need to vent out :) So here is one example that she won't acknowledge.

My grandmother favored me and had no problem telling me that and she acted like it. My grandmother and me were close until her death. If she didn't call me every day, I called her. We loved to talk about our mutual favorite soap operas. We talked about everything. She used to vent about how horrible my mother treated her, although she did not disinherit her. Now Grandma was a troublemaker too, but for most of my life she was good to me. Sis didn't speak to her for so long that Grandma would say, sadly, "I wouldn't know A. if she walked past me on the street."

About three years before my grnadmother died, Sis regained contact, probably to please Mother or to look good to her fiance. Sis, if talked to about it, will exaggerate the yers that she actually came back to Grandma. No matter. She was gone forever and it hurt Grandma a lot, even though she was never the favored grandchild of Grandma.

After Grandma died, I came to Grandma's house while the two of them were cleaning out her things. They ignored me and Sis was bawling like she had missed somebody she had been very close to all her life. And when talking to her about the long absent gap she dismissed it and said, "Well, Grandma loved me and was ok with me and we were close at the end." Probably, but not like me and Grandma were. So what does Mother do? This is a lady who was extremely cheap, by the way. She upholstered Grandma's furniture and gave it to my sister. Yep. She did. I got nothing from Grandma's apartment. Of course, nobody can take away the love and memories and the knowledge that we WERE close and that without her I would never have known ANY love.

But, anyway, that is my sister and how hse works. She also didn't invite my brother to her wedding because he was "too ugly and looks gay. I don't want my friends to see him." Now they are BBFs. He forgave her. He believes her story to him that she was always concerned about him (because he was so sick with Crohns) but was only mean because she was afraid she'd lose him so she distanced herself or some other crapola she told him. She was SO MEAN to him and about him and, I am very sorry to say, that during my less stable years, at least to her face, I went along with her. I mean, I wanted Sissy to love me, like I wanted Mommy to love me. And one way to do it was to agree with her about Bro being too ugly to invite to the wedding. If I'd had the balls I have today, I would have told her off and not gone myself, but I was too screwed up and selfish back then. There. I admitted it.

It's amazing what people buy from her. Nobody wants to be on a bully's bad side. No excuse for me though.

At one point she didn't see my father for over a year and got stalled on a highway out of town and I had to contact my dad for her so that she could be rescued by him. Yay, I tried to be a good big sister. She would tell you I teased her with Bro when she was young and I did. But it stopped when she turned thirteen. Again, no excuse for me. I was a screwed up, depressed kid with no friends and jealous of my pretty, popular sister and my mother would not fight for Sis at the time. She was not worthy yet...she was still being ignored rather than exalted as another golden child. Once I developed a relationship with my sister, I did try to be there for her, but she doesn't seem to remember...oh, well.

She dumped me and came back 100 times...lololol.

She left her husband. After the divorce, her son and husband still all lived together in a new place. She claims it's the new normal and exes live together all the time without having sex...for economical purposes. If she says it's the new normal, by God it is!!!! Anyhow, she almost deserted her son to be with both a married lover at first then her abusive boyfriend who she may still be with at this time. I don't care. I don't want to know. Yet her son is a sweetheart and forgives her too.

Seems like people like this get forgiven, like my mother and Sis. Maybe others feel honored to be on their good side because so many aren't. I haven't figured it out yet. They do have a way of making YOU feel as if you are the bad guy. I felt that way for a long time. Like she SHOULD have done that to me. They are good at the guilt trip.

Anyhow, I am happy to report that I did not dwell on this too long. Right now my father has not called me since he had a major upheaval at me and I am not going to call him. I know this sort of family tiff upsets him and frankly I don't care if he's 102...I don't need to hear abuse from anybody. I sent him a short letter. It was not as all forgiving as last time because I did hold him accountable, but it was also kind in tone. However, what he does is up to him. I can't worry about that now.

I haven't posted it yet (I will), but I"m going to MIssiouri for a week soon and I have to get ready. My grandson is the driving factor there as we have been skyping a lot and he wants me to come. Nobody will be home most of the time except me. Bart works. I am actually looking forward to it. I know how to deal with Bart and to keep him in a good mood and I haven't seen the little guy for years. Plus it is 70 degrees there. I'll take it.

Thanks for your feedback. It is always thought provoking and wise.
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{{{{{{{{{{{{Big hugs}}}}}}}}}}}

You have a cr@ppy family. Some of the nicest people I know have cr@ppy family. I know you're disappointed in your dad because you really should be able to rely upon your dad, especially when you're sick, but he's kind of a cr@ppy dad. Obviously your sister is a cr@ppy sister.

If I had it to do over again with my cr@ppy family, I don't know that I might have shared less with them and done a better job of being the sister/daughter that they wanted by just not letting them know me. But that's not what I did, and now I only see them in my nightmares. I wish I knew how to get past that but I don't.

You're sick and recovering from a major surgery. If you can live your life and keep a relationship with them where you never have to rely upon them for support again, I would recommend that you try it. Having a huge family that doesn't acknowledge you exist other than to make you out to be a monster isn't fun. But it's better than witnessing it first hand.


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Yes. This: "my mother would love being able to tell everyone how much SHE was suffering and how much SHE was worrying and how much SHE was having sleepless nights over her daughter's mastectomy."

I'm sorry for your pain and disappointment, MWM. :(


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If I had it to do over again with my cr@ppy family, I don't know that I might have shared less with them and done a better job of being the sister/daughter that they wanted by just not letting them know me. But that's not what I did, and now I only see them in my nightmares. I wish I knew how to get past that but I don't.
I love this post. It resonated to my soul.
If I had it to do over again, I'd run for the hills at eighteen and leave them all behind forever and that would have made my life a lot better. But I don't have the anger on the surface anymore. I'm not even that upset about this episode. It just makes me feel silly that I didn't anticipate both events.

My dreams, ah, that's different. I have never once had a dream with my mother in it that was not a nightmare in which I wake up shaking. I usually don't even remember the dream, but only that she is in it and I was young again. I'm never my age when she is in my nightmare. I swear, she is deliberately haunting

Sis, Bro and Dad and an abusive uncle are never in my dreams. Just her. And I wish she'd stay out of them forever.

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
She was SO MEAN to him and about him and, I am very sorry to say, that during my less stable years, at least to her face, I went along with her. I mean, I wanted Sissy to love me, like I wanted Mommy to love me. And one way to do it was to agree with her about Bro being too ugly to invite to the wedding. If I'd had the balls I have today, I would have told her off and not gone myself, but I was too screwed up and selfish back then. There. I admitted it.

It was not you who was screwed up back then, MWM.

If you could go back and watch a movie of those times knowing what you know now about your family of origin, you would see the bare bones toxicity, and your own repeated victimization, so clearly it would horrify you. You would want to blast in and save that little girl who was you. You would remember how young and how damaged and how empathic you were. You would remember trying so hard to find a place of balance, or to see how to think "right", how to do "right". That feeling of rightness and belonging is what those of us raised in toxic settings come to think of as love.

Love, for us, is the time we felt okay enough to have been accepted. The problem it created for us was that it was rare, very rare, for us to feel accepted in our families of origin without feeling we had betrayed something intrinsic to ourselves ~ like kindness, or empathy, or integrity; our very humanity, the self that flowered into being once we left our toxic families behind and that is squelched and cheapened and destroyed whenever we interact with our toxic families of origin, was the sacrifice required to "fit in".

Perhaps that is why I feel myself coalescing around a strong, sweet core of self I did not identify as me during all those years I was trying to make sense of my family of origin and how all the hurtful, destructive things fit together. I am delightfully surprised at myself sometimes, now. I am able to be a little separate from the way I was taught to view myself.

I can see the toxicity in it.

I feel badly for myself in one way and wildly, ecstatically and gratefully free in another.

It's over! I got out, got or am getting, free of it!

That's like, a miracle.

No one could have come through what we came through intact, MWM. Look how hard it is to understand our difficult child children. Imagine what it must have been for a couple of empathic girl children to grow up as we did, sensing the rage and pain and disgust and not understanding the undercurrents we could see so clearly that we had to try to bring things back into balance any way we knew.

We were different than them, and we learned to condemn ourselves for being different, for being wrong somehow, because that is what they taught us to do.

It was not that you were selfish, or that you compromised ethics you were not clear on yet, yourself. You were a young girl trying to understand and survive a situation that horrified you and in which you had zero power or input so when you remember it now you remember it the way they taught you to remember it. You are taking on someone else's guilt. You had no power there, MWM. You had already been separated from your core values, from your integrity, from everything you knew was right, a million times.

This time, someone else was hurt, and so, you remember it because your own humanness will not allow you to see someone hurt without calling compassion and regret in you for your part in it.

You had no part, MWM.

You went along with your own mother, your own sister, your whole family.

Now you know better, and you will not be vulnerable to them, anymore.

Our families of origin were deeply toxic, MWM.

We are still unraveling the truth in so many of the unspoken rules of our upbringings.

What I see in this story is the similarity between the judgment you made about yourself as a coward for not protecting your brother and my own judgment of myself as a coward for not protecting mine.

That your sibling was ostracized in such an ugly way was traumatic for you because you are not like them.

You will never be like them.

I think the term "wanting" our families of origins to love us takes us down a wrong path. In families, there is an expectation (even now, even at the ages we are, now, with all we know and have seen) that love motivates the nature of our interactions with our families of origin.

This is not true.

Our families of origin were deadly, were and are deadly, toxic things.

We need to stop seeing ourselves through their eyes.



Well-Known Member
Cedar, I WAS screwed up back then. I can't believe I went along with her. Yet my brother forgives her and is mad at ME in an unforgiving way.

Our families-of-origin continue to be deadly. We need to stay away.